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Atlanta United-Revolution Preview
Atlanta United FC should be itching to get back on the pitch for a chance to again earn its first victory of the MLS season.
Back in action for the first time in two weeks, visiting Atlanta looks for that elusive triumph Saturday night while aiming to maintain its undefeated history against the New England Revolution.
Having had to time regroup and also recover from a fitness standpoint during their off-week, Atlanta (0-2-2) hopes the break will lead to some rejuvenation after earning an Eastern Conference-low two points out of the gate.
This is the longest in the three-year history of the franchise that it's gone without recording an initial victory. United's most recent league action resulted in a 2-0 loss at Columbus on March 30.
"We have to improve even more, but I still put a lot of confidence in that," Atlanta coach Frank de Boer told MLS.com. "We're going to work hard and try to change this feeling that we have right now and (turn) it into a positive feeling."
That would help if star and reigning MVP Josef Martinez is fit enough to be available for this match. Martinez, who has one of Atlanta's two league goals this season, has been dealing with a knock, but the team seems confident he will be able to feature against New England.
Martinez has totaled four goals while Atlanta's gone 2-0-2 all-time against New England. Having that history to fall back on could help the United, though it has drawn both matches hosted by the Revolution.
New England (1-4-1) earned its first 2019 victory, 2-1 over Minnesota at home on March 30, but took a step back with last weekend's 1-0 loss at Columbus. Josh Williams goal off a set-piece just before halftime proved to be the decisive factor in that contest, though Revs' coach Brad Friedel felt the play that led to the Crew's free-kick attempt should have been ruled offside.
Regardless, it marked the third time already this season that New England was shut out. The good news for the Revolution, though, is that they will play their next three contests at home.
"We've got to win them all, right?" defender Andrew Farrell told New England's official website. "We've got to win all these games. We've got to get maximum points. Especially, when you're not winning games on the road, you've got to win at home."
The Revolution will be minus defender and captain Michael Mancienne (suspension), while the fitness status of fellow defender Antonio Delamea remains to be seen. Rookie forward Justin Rennicks, meanwhile, is back training with New England and could be ready to return from a three-game absence.
Updated April 11, 2019